Marathon hours of river running and hiking in the Grand Canyon can stir up more than just endorphins. For field biologist and outdoorswoman Lyndsay Hupp, sweltering heat and canyon sweat inspired her to create a nutrition bar that is making a lot of people happy.
The epiphany for nutritional fuel came when “I was out boating on the Colorado River and my trail mix melted into a clump. So, I started adjusting the recipe and friends liked it so much they named them ‘Huppy Bars,’” she said.
Thus, Hupp’s tagline, “Born in the Grand Canyon,” makes perfect sense.
Crafted in a quaint kitchen in downtown Flagstaff and made from locally sourced ingredients, Huppy Bars are sold at stores, delis and sporting outlets around the state and online. “They can even be found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon,” said Huppy Bar employee Karla Kennedy, who handles shipping and fulfillment. “Every lunch that Phantom Ranch sells is equipped with a Huppy Bar. The mules haul them down and hikers haul them out.”
Supplied as snacks on the mule rides to Phantom Ranch, Xanterra South Rim Mule Operations Wrangler Teigan Babcock said, “Even the ravens love them; they try to steal them from our saddlebags.”
With an insatiable love for the outdoors and a strong belief in taking a conscious role in health awareness, Hupp has covered an awe-inspiring amount of miles on land, riverboats and bicycles. At 40 years old, she has worked as a river guide for 18 years and balances her biology work with guiding.
With a lot of apprehension, Hupp was not sure about taking her creation to the marketplace. She felt there was a lot against her, like a lack of finances, but her adventurous spirit overcame the shortcomings. “The journey was staring me so hard in the face I just had to see what was around the corner. Regardless of the outcome, I was ready for the adventure.”
In the early beginnings when business was “crawling,” the Arizona Trail Association (ATA), approached Hupp with an idea. “Let’s make a bar that is uniquely Arizona with mostly Arizona ingredients to celebrate and raise funds for ATA,” said ATA Executive Director Matthew Nelson. “The original concept was to develop the ultimate natural energy bar for hikers, bikers, runners, equestrians and other outdoor adventurers to celebrate the Arizona trails.”
Nelson says Huppy Bar makes the best tasting bars in Arizona. “So, we partnered with Lyndsay and she developed the AZT Wild Mesquite bar using local honey, nuts, chilies and mesquite flour. It is the Official Energy Bar of the Arizona Trail.” He notes that 5% of proceeds go to AZT.
One local farm that Huppy Bar supports is the San Xavier Co-op on the Tohono O’odham Nation. “Lyndsay buys her mesquite flour from us and we actually sell her bars at the store. We sell a lot of them,” said San Xavier Co-op Group Sales and Marketing Manager Katie Hilbert.
Flagstaff local athletes and river runners are very familiar with Huppy Bars. Grand Canyon River Guide and Flagstaff Emergency Department EMT Leah McCabe is a big fan. “I’ve used them on the river, backpacking, cycling and traveling. They are a good source of sustained energy. They are a perfect size and very balanced and yummy.”
Humphreys Ski Summit owner and boatman Brian Dierker has known Hupp though the years and recently interviewed her on his Outdoor Adventures with Brian Dierker podcast. “I’ve watched her through the years and it’s really impressive to see her growth. Her original recipe was everything mixed up and melted down into a glob of stuff and we [river runners] all liked it.”
Employing a staff of five, Carrie Danielson has worked as a “bar maker” at the Huppy Bars kitchen for two years. “I worked for Community Supported Agriculture (GSA) and we sold Huppy Bars and I really liked them. Working for Huppy Bars is great. It’s flexible and I work independently.”
On Jan. 9, Hupp took on the challenge of her life as she joined the U.S. Men’s Raft team in their second attempt at a Speed Run rowing 277 miles, non-stop down the Colorado River for 38 hours and five minutes. They did not win, but they did raise $13,000 for Grand Canyon youth. “This was the most impactful river trip I’ve ever done, and yes, Huppy Bars were on board.”
Some other flavors of Huppy Bars are Apple Cinnamon Raisin, Chocolate Berry Love, Chocolate Java, Pecan Orange Spice and Coconut Date Ginger. They can be purchased at several stores and delis around Flagstaff or online at huppybar.com. FBN
By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN